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Three arrested in Atlanta I-85 bridge collapse

Staff Writer |
Fire investigators arrested three people in connection to a massive fire on a heavily traveled section of an Interstate 85 overpass in Atlanta.

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Investigators said Basil Eleb was arrested on a charge of criminal damage to property. Investigators said he started the fire intentionally and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas were arrested each on a charge of criminal trespass. Investigators said the suspects may have been homeless but it is not clear if they lived under the overpass.

"We believe they were together when the fire was set and Eleby is the one who set the fire," said Jay Florence, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Insurance.

The fire on Thursday night, which started in a PVC storage area underneath the section of highway, collapsed a part of I-85, a major thoroughfare in Atlanta. No one was injured.

Three sections each in the the northbound and southbound areas will have to be replaced, authorities said.

"I think it's as serious a transportation crisis as we could have," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

On Friday, President Donald Trump approved federal disaster funds through the Federal Highway Administration for repairs.

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